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Appraisal tips to boost your chances
I t's performance appraisal time again, and your ability to showcase your strengths during your appraisal could help you get that promotion at work.
However, most of us find it challenging to articulate our accomplishments in a few paragraphs.
Having been the appraiser as well as the appraised, here are some lessons I have learnt.
Understand your goals
If you have been appraised before, you must review the goals set out for you by your boss last year. Note down your accomplishments in the current year and highlight the goals that have been met. Also note down the challenges that restricted you from meeting some goals.
If you are a new employee and this is your first appraisal, review the job description given to you at the time of joining. If your job description involved achieving a certain sales target, make a note of those months when you exceeded or met the target.
Track your accomplishments
I find it difficult to recall all my accomplishments at the end of the year and find most fellow professionals struggling with the same issue. I recommend that you track your accomplishments on a regular basis.
Create a file or folder and save all those appreciation mails, letters of recommendations or any other awards and certificates you may have received.
You might think this could come across as pompous. However, if your boss leaves the organisation right before the appraisal period, you will have nothing tangible to demonstrate to your new boss.
Develop positive references
If you have been nice to people you work with, you can safely use them as references to validate your professional strengths and accomplishments. Make sure senior members of the organisation are aware of your potential.
While your boss is responsible for the performance discussion, the head of the department or some other senior member usually gives the final go-ahead before stamping a final rating on your performance.
Often, it's not what you know, but who you know that matters.
Make a wish-list
Put together a list of things you want to ask your boss during the discussion. This could include a change in job responsibilities, financial rewards, change of location, tools and resources, etc.
Most professionals regret not having stated their expectations clearly, thinking that it will go against them. Your wish-list is an opportunity for your boss to understand what will fuel you to give your best to the organisation.
You often do get what you ask for. Take your chances.
Identify improvement areas
It's important to be realistic and acknowledge your opportunity areas. Ask a friend at work for candid feedback about how employees perceive you. This will save you from nasty surprises during the discussion. If people around you don't think very highly of you, rest assured your boss would already know the same.
Speak to your human resource manager and ask them if they have a 360 degree feedback system that you can take. This will give you objective feedback from your boss, peers, clients and other stakeholders. Once you identify your weak areas, set an improvement goal with a timeframe and document the same for your boss' review.
Proof read your appraisal document
Once you have jotted down your key accomplishments, strengths, expectations, improvement areas and future goals (in that order), proof read your document at least twice.
Remember, your boss will probably be looking at many such appraisal documents and lack of formatting and spelling errors will not give you any brownie points. Treat your appraisal document like a job application; invest time in making it look good.
The annual review can also be a job interview for a promotion. So prepare for it throughout the year and show your boss you have the qualities that people in higher positions possess.
Tomorrow: Acing the discussion, and following up.
-- Sunder Ramachandran, managing partner, W.C.H Training Solutions, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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